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"Pickford" by Eileen Whitfield and "Becoming Mae West" by Emily Wortis Leider

By Ray Sawhill

In the early part of the century, before the movie business outgrew its seedy origins, it was one of the rare fields where an ambitious woman could hope to make a professional mark. 317 more words

Books And Publishing

The Rise and Fall of An American President: Nixon in the Arts and the Media

By Ray Sawhill

The biggest surprise when “Nixon in China” opened in 1987 wasn’t the music: the opera’s composer, John Adams, had been moving away from minimalist purism for some years. 3,120 more words

Books And Publishing

Short Book Reviews

By Ray Sawhill

* A Separate Cinema: Fifty Years of Black Cast Posters by John Kisch and Edward Mapp. Long before Spike Lee, directors and producers like Oscar Micheaux were making films for what was called the “race-movie circuit.” A fascinating place to begin learning about this tradition is this book by Kisch and Mapp; its introduction by film scholar Donald Bogle covers a lot of ground in 20 pages. 910 more words

Books And Publishing

"The Dark Side of Japanese Business" by Ikko Shimizu, translated by Tamae Prindle

By Ray Sawhill

As pop culture goes global, we’re becoming more and more familiar with the “Who’d have thunk it” entertainment response. Who’d have thunk steel guitars—which Americans associate with the relaxed pleasures of country & western and Hawaiian music—would ever be set alongside talking drums and tribal rhythms? 1,199 more words

Books And Publishing

Comics Relief

By Ray Sawhill

Readers who have made it through the new generation of meta-comics and “graphic novels”—”Raw,” “The Dark Knight Returns,” etc.— might find some relief in “The Trouble With Girls” (Eternity), “Omaha the Cat Dancer” (Kitchen Sink), and “Dinosaurs for Hire” (Eternity). 902 more words

Books And Publishing

What Books Do People in the Book Publishing Business Read For Pleasure?

By Ray Sawhill

Pity the poor publishing professional. She — and these days, three out of four publishing pros on the editorial side are women — was lured into the field by her love of books. 1,014 more words

Books And Publishing

The Litterati

By Ray Sawhill

If Robert (“The Trial of Joan of Arc”) Bresson had directed a Zalman (“Wild Orchid”) King film, it might have come out like Louis Malle’s “Damage.” A pot-boiler made austere and tragic, equipped with style to kill and that phony but ever-alluring theme, sexual obsession, it’s a perfect complement to the Josephine Hart novel it’s based on. 2,045 more words

Books And Publishing